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September 2011

Looking at Buildings

Posted by Sian Lile-Pastore on 16 September 2011

On Wednesday Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Evan James took part in the art activity that I offer to schools called 'Looking at Buildings'.

The pupils have a look at the buildings in the museum and make sketches of them, before returning to the activity space to create a 3d model. Here are some pictures of the wonderful work made.

If your school would like to take part in something similar, have a look here for more details.

Quilt Club

Posted by Sian Lile-Pastore on 16 September 2011
Quilt Club
Samantha's quilt
Janet's quilt
» View full post to see all images

I love quilt club, I really do. And if any of you would like to come along then I'm sure you will love it too!

It's a friendly, informal group and we get together and sew quilts! Quilter, and all round wonderful person Samantha Jenkins is on hand to help out if you get stuck or to help you get started if you have never quilted before. We meet every two months on a saturday morning at 11am until 12.30pm, the next meeting is on November 5th and is open to all - but please book your place by phoning 029 2057 3424.

Here are some pictures from recent meetings... I know there are more somewhere in the depths of my computer, so I'll have a hunt for those too.


Posted by Danielle Cowell on 15 September 2011
Professor Plant
Map of schools

Welcome to all of the 2,883 pupils taking part in the Spring Bulbs for Schools investigation this year!

I'm so excited, because this year we have pupils planting in Wales, England and Scotland! Take a look at the map to see the schools.

Over the next few weeks, myself and my bulb buddies will be preparing all the bulbs and pots to be send to the schools. Then all the schools will be planting on the 20th of October in England & Wales and the 26th of October in Scotland.

Professor Plant





Climate champion visits St.Fagans!

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 15 September 2011
Bronwen & The Punter family from Clunderwen near Narbeth who pledged to: walk and cycle more, spend one minute less in the shower and turn down their thermostat by 1 degree.
Ffion Isaacs and granddad Ivor from Caerleon
Adam and Josh from Solihull
Bronwen with Arwel and Ellis from Milton Keynes.

Bronwen Davies is the Welsh Government Climate Change Champion for Ebbw Vale.

Bronwen, who is 15 years old, spent the day at the Ty Gwyrdd in St fagans:National History Museum talking to members of the public about the pledges and actions they can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

She spoke to people of all ages and enjoyed talking to families, where parents and children could work out actions they could achieve together. She has been very busy over the last few weeks helping people to understand our changing climate. 

Bronwen became a Climate Change Champion in January after winning a competition to find six young people who can use their influence to persuade their friends, families and communities to do their bit to help Wales reduce its carbon footprint.

On October the 1st you can meet the Climate Change Champion for Cardiff - Tom Bevan, who is 16. Pop-into the Ty Gwyrdd to meet Tom and make a pledge and to find out how to reduce your carbon footrpint.

Follow the progress of the Welsh Climate Champions at:

Virtually cleaning a 18th Century painting

Posted by Graham Davies on 7 September 2011
View of the Palazzo Loredan dell'Ambasciatore on the Grand Canal, Venice [before cleaning]
View of the Palazzo Loredan dell'Ambasciatore on the Grand Canal, Venice [before cleaning]
View of the Palazzo Loredan dell'Ambasciatore on the Grand Canal, Venice [after cleaning]
View of the Palazzo Loredan dell'Ambasciatore on the Grand Canal, Venice [after cleaning]
Virtually 'cleaning' the canvas with your mouse
Virtually 'cleaning' the canvas with your mouse
Fixing the slight variations in perspective and angles of the two digital captures to achieve a precisely matched up overlay
Fixing the slight variations in perspective and angles of the two digital captures to achieve a precisely matched up overlay
» View full post to see all images

Graham Davies, Online Curator, Amgeddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

When a member of the Art department approached me to ask if I could feature two views of the same painting online — one version covered in dirt and yellowed varnish (as the painting was when it came into the Museum), and the other version showing hidden detail and crisp colours (after being cleaned by Museum conservators) — I realised it would make a perfect interactive if you could use your mouse to virtually 'clean' the dirty canvas to reveal the clean version underneath.

Guardi's view of the Grand Canal, Venice

The painting in question is Francsesco Guardi's View of the Palazzo Loredan dell'Ambasciatore on the Grand Canal, Venice, painted around 1775-85.

Acquired by Amgueddfa Cymru in 2011, this painting is an important acquisition as Guardi's Venetian views are regarded as highly significant in the history of landscape painting.

You clean the painting

To make the most out of this dramatic before and after view, I needed to work out a way of 'virtually' cleaning the painting online by dragging a mouse over the dirty image to reveal the original details and colours previously hidden underneath the dirt and old varnish.

Reinvent the wheel?

I wanted something that allowed the mouse to act as an eraser; allowing one image to be rubbed out to reveal a secondary image underneath. A hunt around the internet brought up the required functionality already created by by Jonathan Nicol (

The next step was to acquire high resolution copies of both dirty (before) and cleaned (after) digital images of the artwork from the Photography department.

Precisely aligning two slightly different angled photographs of the same picture

When I opened these digital images in Photohshop it became apparent that variations in the perspective, and distance of the photographic captures resulted in two images that did not precisely match up once overlaid on top of one another.

After an hour of miniscule adjustments using the image warp feature on Photoshop using the images as separate layers within Photoshop (one set at 50% opacity), I eventually achieved a precise overlaid match.

I abandoned trying to do this at 100% view as the image was so large and the time lag in processing too great to view the results (even for my G5 at 2.44Gz and 8GB RAM). I had to settle for a 25% view that filled my Apple 32" screen)

Once I had a satisfactory matched up and aligned the 'dirty' layer on top of the 'clean' layer, I could create the two corresponding TIFF images to incorporate into the Flash file as a basis for the interactive.

After a bit of tweaking, fiddling, and constant testing, I managed to create a simple interactive, allowing you to use your mouse to erase the dirty image, revealing the clean one underneath .

Exploring the detail.

I then decided to repeat this process to create several versions, all using crops of the high resolution images to show close up details of the painting.

Areas of particular interest I choose to separate out were people rowing a goldola, the architectural detail of the buildings, and the detail of the sky and clouds where much original detail had been almost totally obscured by years of grime, dirt and previous 'touch-ups' to the painting. The clean version revealed original intricate details and brushwork.

Future applications for Museum archives and collections

I am hoping this functionality can be utilised for other online images of the collections in the future. Ideas I have at the moment are to reveal hidden under-drawings only visible under x-ray light — as in the example of Richard Wilson's Dolbadarn Castle (NMW A 72), which has been painted over a portrait of a woman, and Landscape with Banditti around a Tent (NMW A 69) which he painted over a Venetian-style reclining nude.

Additional ideas include viewing a landscape or post industrial townscape that can be erased to reveal a historical image underneath...